Difficulty breathing or noisy breathing. Inability to cough forcefully. Skin, lips and nails turning blue or dusky. Loss of consciousness. DO NOT DO THE HEIMLICH MANEUVER ON A PERSON WHO CAN SPEAK! The symptoms of choking are not always clear. When the airway is obstructed, a person may not be able to speak. However other symptoms, such as a weak cough or audible breathing will alert you that something is not right. With those symptoms, you need to suspect a blocked airway. Ask the victim if she needs help. Without help, the victim will begin turning blue, and eventually lose consciousness. Although you do not want to delay action, you must be sure that a person is choking. It is very important that as long as the person is able to speak that you make NO ATTEMPT to perform the Heimlich maneuver on them. The body’s own cough system is the best method to relieve a obstructed airway. Click to Continue.